Tuesday, January 22, 2013
A Changing Heart
For years, I've been one of the people defending him.
The most tested athlete in the world. Never failed a drug test.
It was all a witch hunt.
He didn't cheat because he didn't have to.
I felt so stupid. Like, even though I didn't know him personally, it was as though I'd been betrayed too.
I resolved that I would in no uncertain terms watch that Oprah interview. Not because of her. But because I didn't want to hear anything he had to say. There was no way to excuse what he'd done and I didn't want to hear it. I was done with him. Forever.
And then something happened at work. A situation that took days to resolve. One that left me thinking so much about the choices we all make and the consequences they can have. And how someone can make a choice that completely changes the course of their life. And how a little bit of compassion can keep them from going in the wrong direction.
There are a lot of very personal details that I cannot share about this situation. Not my personal details, and that is why I will not share them. Suffice it to say, things could have turned out a whole lot differently if someone hadn't pointed out the importance of compassion, even when someone doesn't deserve it.
It was an emotionally exhausting week and when I finally got home Friday night, all I wanted to do was sink into my pillow and sleep for three days straight.
Instead, I found myself turning on the TV.
To the OWN network.
Yes, I watched that interview in its entirety, prepared to be riled up in ever more anger against someone I had long regarded as a hero.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not going to say that I was reeled in by his words or his apparent contrition. I don't know if it's genuine and I'm not blind to the fact that he messed with a lot of lives on the way to this point.
But I also know that I'm not perfect. I've lied. I've cheated. Not in a class or an athletic competition, but in other ways.
I'm only a saint because it's the name of my church.
Something changed in me this week. I hope it is a permanent and growing change, rather than something fleeting.
I've seen people as people. Flawed. Broken. Every bit as deserving of kindness as you or me.
There need to be consequences when someone does something wrong. There have to be.
But there is also room for love and forgiveness too.
I think I'm finally starting to understand what that really means.
You are awesome. And if you share this post, you'll be even awesomer!